Now more than ever, women are needed in trades. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make up only 9% of the construction and skill trades industry. JEVS’ Orleans Technical College sees this as an opportunity to meet the growing demand for skilled trade workers with women who are ready to take on building trades.
The current building maintenance and carpentry classes at Orleans Tech are working on building their first commercial building within their classroom: a coffee shop with a second-floor apartment duplex. Students work together on every aspect of the building and are proud of their work so far. Carolyn, Kim, Dominique, and Ida make up some of the women in the class who have big plans for their future in trades.
Kim, 44, Philadelphia PA
Kim was an interior designer for 22 years before starting at Orleans. Currently, she manages a property housing homeless veterans, but wants to own her own property management company after graduation. She believes those who work with housing should learn the trades to understand and communicate properly.
Carolyn, 29, Burlington City NJ
Carolyn used to work in massage therapy until she decided it wasn’t the right path for her. She likes working with her hands, but wanted to find a job she was passionate about. When looking for technical schools, she toured Orleans and decided to attend. Now, she loves learning, hands-on, about construction. After graduation, she is interested in gaining more experience and eventually opening a business in tiny homes.
Ida, 55, Philadelphia PA
Ida has traveled near and far to find the right niche. In 2004, she earned a degree in architecture at the Community College of Philadelphia, then moved to Texas. While she was there, she became a licensed cosmetology teacher. She loves cutting hair, but also has a passion for carpentry. At Orleans, she does not sit back despite her age. After graduation, she plans on gaining as much experience as possible before starting a family business in house flipping.
Dominique, 24, Philadelphia PA
Dominique grew up watching her stepfather work around the house. As she got older, she went from watching, to helping, to doing things on her own. After receiving her GED and property maintenance certificate from JEVS Project WOW in 2015, she enrolled in Orleans. Although she is not quite sure what she wants to pursue after graduation, she is interested in gaining more experience.